Ahead of Arsenal's crucial game away to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday evening, Mikel Arteta spoke to the media and gave plenty of insightful updates, while also shooting down rumours of his impending departure.

  • Injury news

The Gunners have several injury concerns ahead of this game, and Arteta confirmed the latest on possible absentees.

"We’ve got some late decisions to make.

"Thomas (Partey) won’t be one of those but we have a few that had some issues at the end of the last game and we’re still uncertain with a few players."

Thomas Partey

The Spaniard confirmed that Partey will miss the Nottingham Forest game.

"Thomas is not in the squad, no. It’s what it is. You want everybody available and he’s a top player for us, really important player for us, but at the moment he’s not fit yet."

The boss was also asked whether the Ghanaian may be fit for the Liverpool game, and gave a coy answer.

"We will see. We will see how it evolves and if that’s too short or that’s okay."

Declan Rice

In what will be a worry for fans, Arteta revealed that record signing Rice will be one of the players who the club have to make a late decision on, but did seem optimistic over his possible involvement.

"He (Rice) is one of the players, yes. He’s done some work but has missed some work as well. Hopefully he’s going to be okay."

Gabriel Magalhaes

Another player who was forced off because of an apparent injury against Crystal Palace was Gabriel, who it is now known will also face a late fitness test ahead of the game.

"That’s (Gabriel is) another one, yes."

  • On rumours that he could join Barcelona

Last night, rumours circulated online that Arteta had told his team that he would be leaving the Emirates in the summer, possibly to join Barcelona.

Embed from Getty Images

The rumours originated following a report in the Spanish outlet 'Diario SPORT', but the boss was quick to shoot down this suggestion.

"No, that’s totally fake news. What you read yesterday, I don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s totally untrue and I’m really upset about it.

"I could not believe it. I don’t know where it’s coming from, it’s got no sources, it’s got nothing and I think we have to be very cautious when we talk about personal things, to put it in the way that it was put yesterday."

The boss was also asked about his previous connections to Barcelona, having been at their academy as a youngster, but disregarded its relevance to his current situation.

"That’s something that we cannot control. This is part of football. That’s something very different to someone putting out a statement for something that I’m doing. That’s very different. The other one is it’s just a part of football and this industry, that’s it."

Embed from Getty Images

As well as denying the rumours, the boss also reiterated that he has unfinished business at Arsenal, and was also asked about the possibility of signing a new contract.

"I’m in the right place. I’m with the right people, I feel really good about it and, as I said many times, I’m immersed in a beautiful journey with this football club, these players, this staff and our people and I’m investing still a lot for them.

"I’ve got a strong relationship with the board, with Edu, the team, with ownership. Things come in a natural way and we’ve always done it that way and it’s been done really well. When the time is right we’ll have those discussions and I’ll think about the best way to do that.

"No, we haven’t (had any contract discussions), but this is something that would happen naturally when it has to happen, if it has to happen, and that’s it."

  • Nottingham Forest's AFCON absences

Embed from Getty Images

The boss was asked about whether Nottingham Forest's potential absences due to the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) could impact the game, but he made it clear that it would be a difficult game regardless of these players' availability.

"I see what we can manage with our preparation and this is what we have tried to do against a team with a manager who I know really well. It’s going to be extremely competitive and we’ve had some really bad experiences over there in the last two seasons, so we’re going to have to be really good to beat them."

  • On Martinelli's confidence and return to form

After coming on as a substitute against Crystal Palace, Gabriel Martinelli scored a late brace, his first goals for the club since the start of December.

Embed from Getty Images

Arteta spoke about how good the brace will be for the Brazilian's confidence.

"Absolutely. Sharing the goals is really important but for individuals there is confidence and taking some anxiety away from it and actually scoring two beautiful goals like we did is going to make him a lot of positive things."